Aztec Empire

The Mexica migrated to the Valley of Mexico in middle of the 13th century. They were late arrivals to the area and were forced to establish their homes on two islands on the western shore of Lake Texoco. In 1325, they founded the city of Tenochitian on one of the lake islands. The Mexica, who became known as the Aztec, quickly established military supremacy in the area. Soon the Mexica (Aztecs) ruled an area from central Mexico to the Guatemalan border.

The Aztec civilization was agriculturally based. Religion played a very important role in every aspect of their lives. Aztec cities were dominated by stone pyramids, which were topped with temples. At theses Temples humans were sacrificed to the gods. Warfare, not only increased the Aztec empire's wealth, but it provided a steady source of captives to be sacrificed to the gods.

The leader of the Aztecs was considered to be godlike. He served as both the military leader of the Aztec and their high priest. The leader of the Aztecs was supported by a large number of nobles, which included priests, warriors and administrators.

Tenochtitlan was the center of the Aztec World. It is estimated that at its height, this city had a population of 200,000. This made Tenochtitlan one of the largest cities in the ancient world. The Spanish conquerors described Tenochtitlan as the Venice of the New World, because of its many canals. The city itself was surrounded by water and could be reached only by three causeways that could be raised.

Agriculture dominated the Aztec economy. The Aztecs developed an advanced agricultural economy that made use of irrigation and fertilizer. The main crop the Aztecs grew was corn. However, they also grew banes squash, peppers, avocados and tomatoes. The Aztecs produced pottery, tools, jewelry and cloth. These items, as well as, jewelry, and other luxury items were widely traded throughout the area.